February 11, 2021 3:21:09 am
Searches by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at the office of news portal NewsClick and at the residence of its editor-in-chief continued on Wednesday for the second day. The raids at the office ended late Wednesday night. The agency had raided the news portal’s office and residences of its editors Tuesday morning in connection with an alleged case of money laundering.
NewsClick said in a statement Wednesday that it has cooperated with the officials and will continue to do so. “If the ED and the government are truthful and follow the course of law, no wrongdoing will be found and this unfortunate event will be closed. Newsclick has nothing to hide,” it said.
On Tuesday, separate teams conducted searches at NewsClick’s Saidulajab office and at the homes of editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha, editor Pranjal Pandey and some others associated with the company. Prabir was brought to the office on Tuesday night and the search continued through the night.
NewsClick in its statement alleged that it had become a routine practice with this government to deploy government-controlled agencies to deal with those who “disagree with and criticise” it. The raids against it appear to be on the same lines, it said.
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The news portal also said it will continue to report and record voices of the “unheard and unseen people of India”.
After the raids at the office ended, editor Pranjal Pandey said, “What is the nature of the investigation, what are they looking for and what is their intention, I have no idea about that. Whatever they asked us, we informed them. Around 40 hours of search went on here. I think something similar has been going at Prabir’s house and is still on. Once all of it gets over, we will come out with a detailed statement.”
Criticising the searches, the Press Club of India said in a statement that they are an unsavory attack on the media in a bid to intimidate and silence critical journalists.
The Editors Guild of India, while expressing concern over the raids, said the website has been at the frontline of reporting on the farmers agitation, anti-CAA protests and has been critical of various government policies and “a few powerful corporate houses”. It demanded that care be taken to not undermine NewsClick’s operations and that its journalists and stakeholders are not harassed under the garb of such measures.
Condemning the searches, farmers’ outfit BKU Ekta Ugrahan said in a statement, “Newsclick has been providing a platform to leading investigative journalists… It has also been reporting extensively on the farmers agitation for the past two months… Our organisation strongly condemns these raids as a serious attack on the online media and freedom of press and considers it a continuation of repressive measures adopted against several senior journalists last week by filing sedition charges against them and also curbing free speech on Twitter and YouTube.”
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